** story courtesy of www.pinehurst.com/news **
A year after nearly winning the North & South Amateur, Victorian Gabi Ruffels is well on the way again at Pinehurst.
Rising University of Southern California junior Gabi Ruffels returned to the semi-finals today, beating American Dylan Kim 2&1.
And Ruffels is doing it by taking a page out of Payne Stewart’s playbook.
Before the men's 1999 US Open at the iconic North Carolina resort, Stewart famously charted the most difficult areas around Pinehurst No.2.
He then went back with his caddie, Mike Hicks, to make a plan about cautiously avoiding those spots at all costs.
Ruffels is essentially doing the same thing.
"Before every shot, I ask my caddie, ‘Where’s the best spot to miss?’ and I think that’s really helping me get around No.2 and to be patient," Ruffels said after her win.
"Because, if you find yourself in the wrong places on this course, you’re done."
Kim played well to start the match, taking a 2-up lead through five holes.
But Ruffels, a member at Victoria Golf Club, won the next four holes to take a lead she would never relinquish to set up a clash with college rival Emilia Migliaccio.
After finishing runner-up to Stephanie Lau a year ago, Ruffels is again one win away from the final match where she could potentially meet a good mate from New South Wales, Doey Choi.
Choi was sparkling today to win 3&1 and will play Christine Wang, who'll also attend USC this year, in the other semi.